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Drawing - DAMN LENO THE KINGS JESTER
  • DAMN LENO THE KINGS JESTER
    May, Philip William, born 1864 - died 1903
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DAMN LENO THE KINGS JESTER

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. 1901 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    May, Philip William, born 1864 - died 1903 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink on drawing board

  • Museum number:

    S.38-1993

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This pen and ink sketch of Dan Leno (1860-1904) is titled by the artist - probably affectionately - 'Damn Leno', because of Leno's ubiquitous popularity and fame, and 'The King's Jester', Leno's soubriquet after his successful performance in 1901 at Sandringham House for King Edward VII. Phil May (1864-1903) was an artist who became a regular member of the staff of the magazine Punch in 1896 and whose work was characterised by a sense of wit and an economy of line.

Dan Leno was a star of the music halls in the 1880s who became known as the 'Funniest Man on Earth'. Born George Galvin in London, the son of music hall performers, he started his career as a child performer, appearing with his brother and his uncle Johnny Danvers, dancing in public houses all over England. By the age of 18 Dan was a champion clog-dancer and was engaged by George Conquest with Danvers for pantomime at London's Surrey Theatre. In 1889 he went to Drury Lane Theatre where he excelled as pantomime Dame, returning for several years as Sister Anne, and Widow Twankey.

Physical description

Pen and ink sketch on drawing board showing Dan Leno wearing a jester's suit comprising a close-fitting cap with cox-comb at the front and two side 'horns' from which bells are suspended; a close-fitting waisted jacket with dagged peplum; a sleeved cape with long dagged sleeves; striped tights and point-toed boots. He is standing, looking down at the jester's stick in his right hand, his left hand on his hip.

Place of Origin

London (probably, drawn)

Date

ca. 1901 (drawn)

Artist/maker

May, Philip William, born 1864 - died 1903 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink on drawing board

Marks and inscriptions

DAMN LENO THE KINGS JESTER
In black ink, inscribed in upper case lettering, top right.

TO KATE FLYNN FROM PHIL MAY
Inscribed in black ink, lower right.

Dimensions

Height: 24.8 cm, Width: 19.9 cm

Descriptive line

Dan Leno (1860-1904) as The King's Jester by Phil May (1864-1903). Pen and ink, ca.1901

Materials

Ink; Drawing board

Techniques

Drawing (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Jester

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Drawings

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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